RSPCA calls for end of MS Animal Research

RSPCA (Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) calls for end to `severe’ suffering of lab animals

Charity urges Government to take action on World Day for Laboratory Animals

Today (24 April) is World Day for Laboratory Animals and the RSPCA is calling on the UK Government to commit to ending the use of animals in experiments that cause ‘severe’ suffering.

Scientific procedures using animals in the UK are classified as ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’, and while any level of suffering is a concern for the RSPCA, ending severe suffering is a top priority.

The amount of pain or distress experienced by each lab animal depends on the kind of research being done, and also on how much effort has been made to reduce or avoid suffering. Each year, animals are involved in experiments categorised as ‘severe’, which cause severe pain, suffering or distress, or ‘severe impairment of their well being or general condition’. The exact number of animals experiencing this will be unknown, until changes in reporting take effect next year – but even a 2% level of severe suffering will involve tens of thousands of animals.

This is a major animal welfare and ethical issue that the RSPCA believes must be addressed as a matter of urgency. We are urging the UK Government to take a policy decision not to license animal experiments in which animals would be expected to experience ‘severe’ suffering.

RSPCA Senior Scientist Dr Penny Hawkins said: “A Government decision not to allow severe suffering would truly focus the minds of those using animals in research, or who fund animal use, on ensuring that absolutely everything possible is done to avoid severe pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm.

“People often say that they work to ‘high welfare standards’ and do not want to cause severe suffering, so they should view a decision not to license these experiments as a welcome challenge to help them make real progress towards more humane science.”

RSPCA calls for end of MS Animal Research. They do not say this directly but this is what they mean as Animal Experiments on Multiple Sclerosis are considered to be “Severe” . Therefore these types of experiments could leave these shores. 

Hurray you may say…..but where does this work move to?….

To places where they hang animals upside down by their tail for months…..?

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  • This is very worrying. We have to hope that other voices will prevail. What does the MS Society have to say?

  • It is a voice that is growing. I am sure the ms society support the ethical use of animals and if the severity band can be justified then they will support it.
    However likewise they would prefer alternatives if they are available

  • So they are saying that it is unethical to make animals suffer that way?
    But letting people suffering the same without any hope for a cure, which is barely possible without animal research. is ethical they believe ? nice.

    • Exactly that is the essential problem with what the RSPCA proposes. Pretty much all the available treatments for MS and those in the pipeline have come about as a direct result of animal studies to a greater or lesser extent. Also if it was banned in the UK it would simply be done elsewhere in the world where ethical standards are far below those in the UK.
      We would all like to see alternatives to using animals but for the foreseeable future it just isn't realistic.

  • Maybe the RSPCA should continue their quest to save the goldfish instead

    Doesn't sound like this would have been a worse death for the fish than any other way fish die for food. Maybe the stomach acid and alcohol would've made it easier for it. So obviously they would say that they need to do this to stop some other miscreant from trying to swallow the family dog whilst filming a video for youtube.

    I'd be interested to know if those against animal research would be up for signing a pledge that says that when they get ill they won't use any treatment that's been tested on animals. I'm not sure they'd get much by way of treatment if that's the case, but hey, it might just save a couple of animals.

  • Many scientist say most of these tests can be done without the use of animals What are the RSPCA doing to explore the possibilities. How can they bring cases against people in the courts and standby to see and speak of these animals suffering. The animals are failed in all their 5 freedoms but they waste £360,000 playing politics.The question has never been asked 2 million animals dying in labs or fox hunting.

    • I think you will find that use of Lab animals and Fox hunting have both been debated by UK Parliament and both activities are regulated by some of the most stringent regulation in the world..

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